Find webpages, articles, images & toolboxes for doing civic design here.

Civic Design Library

with case studies of civic design projects from around the world

Readings on Civic Design

Civic Design article by Carl DiSalvo and Christopher Le Dantec in ACM Interactions, 2017
Ladder of Citizen Participation by Sherry Arnstein, 1969
Civic Design sketchnotes from 2021 Rosenfeld Media conference

Civic Design Resource List, 2021

Design Method Toolboxes

For Co-Design, Participatory Design, Service Design, and other variations of more democratic design work

The Citizens’ Handbook,

Community Planning Toolkit,

Participate in Design (Singapore) Methods Toolbox,

Participatory Methods Toolkit: A Practitioner’s Manual, by Nikki Slocum, United Nations University

Nesta: Innovation Policy Toolkit,

This is Service Design Doing Toolkit,

Other Classes

That teach on similar themes & projects

Community Participation & Design at UC Davis, taught by David de la Peña. It focuses on how designers and planners can use participatory design to improve how they engage with the public.

More Academic Articles & Policy Reports

Design as Democracy: Techniques for Collective Creativity (2017), Island Press. ed. de la Pena, D., Allen, D. J., Hester, R.T., Hou, J., Lawson, L.J., and McNally, M.J.

Dream Play Build: Hands-On Community Engagement for Enduring Spaces and Places (2022), Island Press. Rojas, J. and Kamp, J.

“50 Years Since Arnstein’s Ladder” Special Issue, 2019. Journal of the American Planning Association. Volume 85.

Blue et al. “Justice as Parity of Participation.” Enhancing Arnstein’s Ladder Through Fraser’s Justice Framework

Lyles, W. and White, S.S. “Who Cares? Arnstein’s Ladder, the Emotional Paradox of Public Engagement, and (Re)imagining Planning as Caring”

Karner, et al. “The View From the Top of Arnstein’s Ladder Participatory Budgeting and the Promise of Community Control

Rosen, J. and Painter, G. “From Citizen Control to Co-Production: Moving Beyond a Linear Conception of Citizen Participation”

Bason, C. et al., 2013. “Public and Collaborative: Exploring the Intersection of Design, Social Innovation, and Public Policy” E. Manzini & E. Staszowski, eds., New York, New York, USA. Available at:

Inch, et al., 2019. “People and Planning at Fifty.” Planning Theory & Practice. Volume 20.

Lucy Kimbell, 2015. “Applying Design Approaches to Policy Making: Discovering Policy Lab.” University of Brighton, pp.1–43. Available at:

Teder, M. E., 2019. “Placemaking as co-creation – professional roles and attitudes in practice.” CoDesign International Journal of CoCreation in Design and the Arts. Volume 15.